List of common physics notations

This is a list of common physical constants and variables, and their notations. Note that bold text indicates that the quantity is a vector.

Latin charactersEdit

Symbol Meaning SI unit of measure
  magnetic vector potential tesla meter (T⋅m)
  area square meters (m2)
amplitude meter
atomic mass number unitless
  acceleration meters per second squared (m/s2)
  magnetic flux density
also called the magnetic field density or magnetic induction
tesla (T), or equivalently,
weber per square meter (Wb/m2)
  capacitance farad (F)
heat capacity joule per kelvin (J⋅K−1)
constant of integration varied depending on context
  speed of light (in vacuum) 299,792,458 meter per second (m/s)
speed of sound 340.29 meter per second (m/s)
specific heat capacity joule per kilogram per kelvin (J⋅kg−1⋅K−1)
viscous damping coefficient kilogram per second (kg/s)
  electric displacement field
also called the electric flux density
coulomb per square meter (C/m2)
  density kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m3)
  distance meter (m)
direction unitless
impact parameter meter (m)
diameter meter (m)
differential (e.g.  ) varied depending on context
  differential vector element of surface area A, with infinitesimally small magnitude and direction normal to surface S square meter (m2)
  differential element of volume V enclosed by surface S cubic meter (m3)
  electric field newton per coulomb (N⋅C−1), or equivalently, volt per meter (V⋅m−1)
  energy joule (J)
Young's Modulus pascal (Pa) or newton per square meter (N/m2)
  eccentricity unitless
2.71828... (base of the natural logarithm) unitless
electron unitless
elementary charge coulomb (C)
  force newton (N)
  Faraday constant coulombs per mole (C⋅mol−1)
  frequency hertz (Hz)
function
friction newton (N)
  electrical conductance siemens (S)
gravitational constant newton meter squared per kilogram squared (N⋅m2/kg2)
  acceleration due to gravity meters per second squared (m/s2), or equivalently, newtons per kilogram (N/kg)
  magnetic field strength ampere per meter (A/m)
  Hamiltonian joule (J)
  height meter (m)
Planck constant joule second (J⋅s)
  reduced Planck constant joule second (J⋅s)
  action joule second (J⋅s)
intensity watt per square meter (W/m2)
sound intensity watt per square meter (W/m2)
electrical/conventional current ampere (A)
moment of inertia kilogram meter squared (kg⋅m2)
  intensity watt per square meter (W/m2)
imaginary unit unitless
  Cartesian x-axis basis unit vector unitless
  current density ampere per square meter (A/m2)
impulse kilogram meter per second (kg⋅m/s)
  jerk meters per second cubed (m/s3)
  imaginary unit (electrical) unitless
  Cartesian y-axis basis unit vector unitless
  kinetic energy joule (J)
  Boltzmann constant joule per kelvin (J/K)
wavenumber, wave vector radians per meter (m−1)
stiffness newtons per meter (N⋅m−1)
  Cartesian z-axis basis unit vector unitless
  inductance henry (H)
luminosity watt (W)
angular momentum newton meter second (N⋅m⋅s or kg⋅m2⋅s−1)
Lagrangian joule (J)
  length meter (m)
azimuthal quantum number unitless
  magnetization amperes per meter (A/m)
moment of force
often simply called moment or torque
newton meter (N⋅m)
  mass kilogram (kg)
  normal vector unit varies depending on context
atomic number unitless
  refractive index unitless
principal quantum number unitless
amount of substance mole
  power watt (W)
probability unitless
  momentum kilogram meter per second (kg⋅m/s)
  pressure pascal (Pa)
  electric charge coulomb (C)
Heat joule (J)
  electric charge coulomb (C)
  electrical resistance ohm (Ω)
Ricci tensor reciprocal square meter (m−2)
radiancy meter per second
gas constant joule per mole per kelvin (J⋅mol−1⋅K−1)
  radius vector (position) meter (m)
  radius or distance meter (m)
  surface area m2
entropy joule per kelvin (J/K)
action joule second (J⋅s)
  displacement meter (m)
  arc length meter (m)
  period second (s)
temperature kelvin (K) or Celsius (C)
  time second (s)
  four-velocity meter per second (m/s)
  potential energy joule (J)
internal energy joule (J)
  relativistic mass kilogram (kg)
energy density joule per cubic meter (J/m3) or joule per kilogram (J/kg) depending on the context
  voltage
also called electric potential difference
volt (V)
volume cubic meter (m3)
shear force
  velocity meter per second (m/s)
  weight newton (N)
mechanical work joule (J)
  width meter (m)
  position vector meter (m)
displacement meter (m)
  a generic unknown varied depending on context
  electrical impedance ohm (Ω)

Greek charactersEdit

Symbol Name Meaning SI unit of measure
  alpha alpha particle
angular acceleration radian per second squared (rad/s2)
fine-structure constant unitless
  beta velocity in terms of the speed of light c unitless
beta particle
  gamma Lorentz factor unitless
photon
gamma ray
shear strain
heat capacity ratio unitless
  delta change in a variable (e.g.  ) unitless
Laplace operator per square meter (m−2)
  displacement (usually small) meter (m)
Dirac delta function
  epsilon permittivity farad per meter (F/m)
strain unitless
  epsilon nought vacuum permittivity constant farad per meter (F/m)
  zeta damping ratio unitless
  eta energy efficiency unitless
(dynamic) viscosity (also  ) pascal second (Pa⋅s)
jerk meter per second cubed (m/s3)
  theta angular displacement radian (rad)
  kappa torsion coefficient
also called torsion constant
newton meter per radian (N⋅m/rad)
  lambda cosmological constant per second squared (s−2)
  wavelength meter (m)
linear charge density coulomb per meter (C/m)
eigenvalue non-zero vector
  mu magnetic moment ampere square meter (A⋅m2)
coefficient of friction unitless
(dynamic) viscosity (also  ) pascal second (Pa⋅s)
permeability (electromagnetism) henry per meter (H/m)
reduced mass kilogram (kg)
gravitational parameter
  mu nought vacuum permeability constant or magnetic constant henry per meter (H/m)
  nu frequency hertz (Hz)
kinematic viscosity meters squared per second (m2/s)
neutrino
  pi 3.14159... (irrational number) unitless
  rho mass density
usually simply called density
kilogram per cubic meter (kg/m3)
volume charge density coulomb per cubic meter (C/m3)
resistivity ohm meter (Ω⋅m)
  sigma summation operator
  sigma area charge density coulomb per square meter (C/m2)
electrical conductivity siemens per meter (S/m)
normal stress pascal (Pa)
scattering cross section barn (10^-28 m^2)
  tau torque newton meter (N⋅m)
shear stress pascal (Pa)
time constant second (s)
6.28318... () unitless
  phi field strength unit varies depending on context
magnetic flux weber (Wb)
  electric potential volt (V)
Higgs field work function
  psi wave function m−3/2
  omega electric resistance ohm
  angular frequency radian per second (rad/s)

Other charactersEdit

Symbol Name Meaning SI unit of measure
  nabla dot the divergence operator
often pronounced "del dot"
per meter (m−1)
operator  nabla cross the curl operator
often pronounced "del cross"
per meter (m−1)
area  nabla delta (differential operator)
  "der", "dow", "die", "partial" or simply "d" partial derivative (e.g.  )
  D'Alembert operator  
  angle brackets average

sometimes over Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution

  Dirac notation

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit